Singaporean/Canadian soprano Francesca Alexander: featured performer at the 2017 Halifax Summer Opera Festival

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Climene in Cavalli’s L’Egisto

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“During the school year, I have to think about my courses and extracurriculars on top of singing, so I think it’s going to be really nice to live and breathe opera for a month.”

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Where are you from? How did you first get interested in opera or musical theatre? 

I was born in Singapore and I moved to Canada when I was four, which was when I was first exposed to opera. My parents were watching a video of the Three Tenors, and I was struck by how beautiful and different the style of singing was to me at the time. I wanted to sound like them. I remember walking around my kindergarten class telling people that my favourite singer was Pavarotti. I grew up listening to popular opera arias here and there, but I only seriously started listening to the more obscure opera arias when I got to high school. High school was also when I got into musical theatre and participated in my school’s production of Hairspray as Motormouth Maybelle. My parents were a little weary about me going into music, but they’ve fully supported me every step of the way because they want me to do what makes me happy.

When did you start studying voice? Where are you studying now?

I started classical voice lessons when I was 16. I am currently completing my undergraduate degree in voice performance at Western University.

What came first for you, theatre or music?

Definitely music. I took piano when I was little, and then joined choirs and took saxophone and cello lessons too! In high school, I became more involved in theatre. I love both theatre and music so much, which is why opera is my favourite art form.

 What arias, songs or entire roles belonging to other voice types would you like to perform?

If I was a tenor with killer high Cs, I would bust out Ah mes amis from La Fille du Regiment anytime, anywhere.

Who are your favourite performing artists?

In terms of classical music, I absolutely love Joyce DiDonato! You can tell when watching her that she is having so much fun and really giving herself over to the music, and it’s such a pleasure to watch. I also really like Diana Damrau, Anna Netrebko, Cecilia Bartoli, and Jessye Norman. For pop, I worship at the alter of the Lorde. I love how honest she is in her music and how true she is to herself when she performs. Either than her, I also love Kendrick Lamar, Amy Winehouse, Beirut, and Radiohead.

What’s the most embarrassing song on your phone/tablet/streaming playlist?

I definitely still have “I Believe in You” by Kylie Minogue somewhere in my playlist.

What are you most looking forward to about this summer?

I’m looking forward to being able to focus 100% of my energy on singing and performing. During the school year, I have to think about my courses and extracurriculars on top of singing, so I think it’s going to be really nice to live and breathe opera for a month. I’m also looking forward to meeting everyone else in the festival and enjoying a Halifax Donair!

Thanks, Francesca!

Are you a participant or staff member this year? Why not submit your own answers to our questionnaire!

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